Today is Stay Out of the Sun Day

2011-07-03 10:10

At first glance, it may seem odd that a day in the mist of the July 4th holiday weekend is 'Stay Out Of The Sun Day'. After all, this weekend is full of activities in the sun – fishing, boating, swimming at the lake, baseball games, and more.

At second glance, it makes sense. It is a good day to be mindful of taking a break from the sun and sun-safe behavior.

Seven sun safe practices:

  1. Safe sun-behavior begins with limiting your exposure. It is best to avoid or limit time in the sun between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm.
  2. Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside.
  3. Reapply every two hours when outside at a beach, etc. for adequate protection.
  4. Use even on a cloudy day. Up to 40 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day.
  5. Shield your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses. Squinting caused wrinkles around the eyes. The UV rays can cause cataracts.
  6. Wear a wide-brim hat to help protect your head & neck.
  7. Don't forget to apply lip balm with SPF 15 or higher.

These sun safe practices will help protect your skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation which contribute to skin cancer and premature skin aging.

If you decide not to celebrate “stay out of the sun day” by staying out of the sun, use these tips to treat your sunburn:

  1. Take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin. Do NOT give aspirin to children. These help decrease the inflammation and reduce the amount of redness and pain. The pain from a sunburn is usually worst between 6 and 48 hours after sun exposure.
  2. If your skin is not blistering, moisturizing cream may be applied to relieve discomfort. Store the moisturizing cream in the refrigerator between applications as the coolness will aid in comfort to your skin.
  3. Apply cool compresses to the burned skin. Cold wash clothes work well.
  4. Avoid hot showers or bathes. Take a luke warm bath instead. If there is no blistering of the skin, consider adding Aveeno Collodial Oatmeal to the bath water. It will aid in anti-inflammatory relief and act as a moisturizer for your skin.
  5. Avoid any additional sun or UV light exposure while your sunburn is healing. Clothing is better than protection while healing – long sleeves, hats, etc.
  6. Avoid products that contain benzocaine and lidocaine. They may actually create more itching and inflammation by causing an allergic contact dermatitis.

If your sunburned skin develops blisters, resist the urge to pop them. The blister cover is actually protecting your raw skin underneath.
If your blistering is extensive or you have a severe reactions suggestive of "sun poisoning”, including fever, chills, nausea, or rash, see your family physician.

Celebrating “stay out of the sun day” or using sun safe practices will also help protect you from heat related illnesses.

Everyone should learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. They include: dry or sticky mouth, headache, dizziness and cramps are early signs of heat illness. Symptoms may also include muscle and abdominal cramps, heavy (or worse – have stopped) sweating, and nausea / vomiting.

The best prevention of heat-related illnesses is “staying out of the sun.” Other important tips include drinking lots of fluids (nonalcoholic), wearing lightweight/loose clothing, and resting often in shady areas if you are outdoors. Never leave a child or pet in a hot car.

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